PEN America and the Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater give three awards to playwrights in different stages of their careers. In all three cases, PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater honorees are writers working indisputably at the highest level of achievement. The three awards are for a master American Dramatist, an American Playwright in mid-career with an outstanding voice, and an emerging American Playwright who demonstrates great promise. The awards were developed to reflect Laura Pels’s dedication to supporting excellence in American theater as well as PEN America’s commitment to recognizing and rewarding the playwright’s literary accomplishment.
Luis Alfaro, 2018 MASTER AMERICAN DRAMATIST
Luis Alfaro, for his impressive craft, the socially important questions he rises in his plays, and his priceless contribution to contemporary theater, including Oedipus El Rey, St. Jude, and Pico Union.
A Chicano born and raised in the Pico-Union district of downtown Los Angeles, Alfaro has been working in theatre, performance, poetry and journalism since 1982. A multi-disciplined artist, he is also works as a director, curator, producer, educator and community organizer.
Sibyl Kempson, 2018 AMERICAN PLAYWRIGHT IN MID-CAREER
Sibyl Kempson, for her fine craft, intertextual approach, and her body of work including Crime or Emergency and Let Us Now Praise Susan Sontag.
Kempson’s plays have been presented in the United States, Germany, and Norway. Her work has received support from the Jerome Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others.
Mike Lew, 2018 EMERGING AMERICAN PLAYWRIGHT
Mike Lew, for his original voice, playful sense of provocation, and his body of works including Stockton, microcrisis, and Tiger Style!
Lew is a Tony voter, Dramatists Guild Council member, and recipient of a Mellon Foundation residency, Lark Venturous residency, NYFA fellowship, and the Lanford Wilson, Helen Merrill, Heideman, and Kendeda awards. He is co-director of Ma-Yi Writers Lab, the largest collective of Asian-American playwrights in the country.
Master American Dramatist
American Playwright in Mid-Career
Emerging American Playwright
|2018||Luis Alfaro||Sibyl Kempson||Mike Lew|
|2017||Suzan-Lori Parks||Tarell Alvin McCraney||Thomas Bradshaw|
|2016||Lynn Nottage||Young Jean Lee||Branden Jacobs-Jenkins|
|2015||Tina Howe||Anne Washburn||Jennifer Blackmer|
|2014||David Rabe||Donald Marguiles||Laura Marks|
|2013||Larry Kramer||Kirsten Greenidge|
|2012||Christopher Durang||Will Eno and Adam Rapp|
|2011||David Henry Hwang||Marcus Gardley|
|2010||David Mamet||Theresa Rebeck|
|2009||Sam Shepard||Nilo Cruz|
|2008||Richard Nelson||Sarah Ruhl|
|2007||A. R. Gurney||Naomi Iizuka|
|2006||Adrienne Kennedy||Stephen Adly Guirgis|
|2005||Wallace Shawn||Dael Orlandersmith|
|2004||Lanford Wilson||Lynn Nottage|
|2003||John Guare||Craig Lucas|
|2002||Maria Irene Fornes||Tony Kushner|
|2001||Richard Foreman||Charles Mee, Jr.|
|2000||Horton Foote||Suzan-Lori Parks|
|1999||Edward Albee||Paula Vogel|
|1998||Arthur Miller||Richard Greenberg|
Please note that any playwright, writer, or member of the theater community may submit a nomination for an Emerging or Mid-career playwright. However, a playwright may not nominate his or herself, and candidates of the Master American Dramatist Award are proposed by the judges; nominations are not accepted.
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